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The Mighty Zulu Nation Abantu

No, this isn‘t a new album by Afrika Bambaataa‘s extended family; it‘s the debut album from a traditional, yet progressive-minded, vocal choir from Durban, South Africa who happen to call themselves the Mighty Zulu Nation. Aligning themselves with Nation Records and producer Aki Nawaz, MZN has created one of the world beat albums of the year, if not the decade. Blending spirited vocal harmonies (à la Ladysmith Black Mambazo) with tablas, dhols, and dholaks, Abantu reunifies the lost continent of Pangaea with often-joyous rhythms. The combination of Asian and African sensibilities delivers a culturally rich musical feast, one that seems even more impressive for the lack of overt Westernization. Nawaz programs beats on four tracks, but that‘s an almost superfluous conceit on a record that has plenty of rippling bass without electronic meddling.

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